Vehicle Profile: The 2011 Toyota Tacoma
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How good does a pickup need to be for the competition to throw up the white flag of surrender? As good as the new 2011 Toyota Tacoma, the best-selling compact pickup in America for six years running. That dominance has left other truck makers reeling, so much so that most rivals have either abandoned the segment or left their compact pickups to wither on the vine. One major contributor to the success of the Tacoma is relentless innovation, model year after model year.
Toyota also knows that buyers in the compact-pickup segment demand choices, looking to outfit their trucks to suit their specific needs. With the new 2011 Tacoma, Toyota delivers a full family of rugged pickups suited for long hours on the job, daily chores and even weekend play. Proving that choice is paramount, this year, the Tacoma range adds five new four-cylinder models and a pair of new option packages.
First some basics: Toyota sells the Tacoma in three cab styles, four wheelbase lengths and three bed lengths. You get a choice of two engines and four transmissions.
Two other factors contributing to the perennial success of the Tacoma - value and the storied dependability buyers expect from Toyota. The Tacoma Regular Cab 4x2 sells for an MSRP of just $16,365, and this rugged work truck comes with the Toyota Star Safety System™ – a collection of driver-assistance technology that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC) and Antilock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). For that price, you also get air conditioning, a composite bedliner, a bed utility rail system and an Automatic Limited-slip Differential (Auto-LSD).
Spiking gas prices spurred the broadening of the four-cylinder Tacoma model range, and for good reason. Making a strong 159 hp and 180 lb/ft of torque, the 2.7-liter four-cylinder returns 21 mpg in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard while a four-speed electronic automatic is optional. The new four-cylinder configurations include the Access Cab 4x2 PreRunner and Regular Cab 4x4, and all are equipped with the four-speed automatic.
Buyers searching for more power can opt for the 4.0-liter V6, which pumps out 236 hp and 266 lb/ft of torque. Transmission choices change as well with a six-speed manual standard and a five-speed automatic available also. Maximum towing capacity is 6,500 pounds (on Access Cab models equipped with the V6 Tow Package).
Toyota knows that personalization ranks high with compact-pickup buyers, and to meet that need, the automaker developed two new option packages drawn from the popular T/X concept version of the Tacoma, which bowed in Las Vegas at the annual Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Show in 2009. You can equip the V6 Access Cab or V6 Double Cab with the T/X Packages to create the most menacing Tacoma in the stable.
The T/X Package dials up the aggression with unique exterior graphics, black tube sidesteps, a stainless-steel exhaust tip, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) 16-inch black alloy bead-lock wheels and BF Goodrich Rugged Trail Tires. The T/X Pro Package takes performance to the next level, adding the boost in power and signature bass-note roar delivered by the TRD cat-back exhaust system.
The T/X Packages work in conjunction with the TRD Off-Road Package, which provides superior off-road prowess without sacrificing on-road comfort. The Off-Road Package includes modifications such as Bilstein shocks, an electronic locking differential, progressive-rate front springs and foglamps. Choose to outfit 4x4 V6 models with the package and you get two additional safety features: Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC).
In common with the TRD Sport Package, the Off-Road Package also includes such must-haves as sport seats with adjustable lumbar support and a 400W/115V powerpoint mounted in the truckbed. You can even opt for a backup monitor system.
Taking on-road performance to new heights is the V6-equipped Tacoma X-Runner, based on the Access Cab and available solely with the six-speed manual transmission. The X-Runner dominates the pavement with a sub-seven-second zero-to-60 mph time and a specially tuned suspension that delivers handling comparable to many sports cars. In fact, at 0.9-g, its lateral acceleration rivals that of the Chevrolet Corvette (0.92-g). A full body kit with hood scoop and color-keyed monochromatic exterior give it a racy appearance to match its performance.
Whether the purpose is work or play, drivers log a lot of seat time in their pickups, making livability a key demand. The Tacoma doesn’t skimp on comfort and amenities. Building on the long list of standard features found on Regular Cab models, Access Cab and Double Cab versions feature bucket seats, a center console and power windows and locks. They also offer additional audio systems with an AM/FM/in-dash six-disc CD changer, satellite radio (subscription required) and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
Customizing Access Cab and Double Cab models is a breeze thanks to five available option packages. Among the most popular, the SR5 Package combines styling and comfort finery such as a chrome grille surround, a chrome rear bumper and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and automatic transmission shift lever.
Name your priority in compact pickups – value, comfort, performance, reliability – the bestselling 2011 Toyota Tacoma lineup has it all. Find the model that’s right for you by scheduling a test drive.
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